Eversheds partner and head of real estate investment Nicholas Bartlett’s involvement with Western Europe’s tallest building, the Shard, began in a lift.
He was on his way out of an office after a disappointing meeting about a property fund that never launched, when someone from Qatar National Bank asked if he knew anything about real estate finance. Bartlett said that he did and was then led back into the meeting room. So began his role on a project that was to last more than five years.
Bartlett and his team started out advising Qatar National Bank on the debt financing for the project and was then kept on by the Qatari investors who were impressed at the job they did for the bank. Bartlett will not say how many hours he and his team logged advising development consortium LBQ on the Shard, but you can safely assume the figure is colossal.
As well as overseeing the financing and construction of a building almost unmatched in scale, Bartlett was forced to grapple with the innumerable technical difficulties that come with working on a project so unique.
In one example, Bartlett had to work on a deal with Vodafone to ensure that people would be able to use their mobile phones on the upper floors of the London skyscraper. The building was completed late last year (2012), but the work is not over yet for Bartlett – who is also relationship partner for a string of high-profile clients such as Credit Suisse, Legal & General and 3i – as the Shard’s owners continue to look for tenants.